Vignette:In the Back Alleys

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In the Back Alleys
Qirya, Hydar State
18th August 2019

“We look more out of place than a communist in Alva!”

“Don't mind them, hun, let's just try to enjoy our trip now, huh?”.

Sófi Maranjofa and Júsuf Maranja tucked their heads down while continuing to trodd the cobblestone path flanked by a grand arcade inhabited by various merchants and traders selling all kinds of exotic wares while entire families would eat noodles by the sides of the street.

“The energy here is strange yet oddly familiar... What could it be?” Exclaimed Júsuf.

“It's crowded! You love crowds don't you? Losing you here would be less of a hassle since you're more noticeable.” Sófi responded.

Júsuf chuckled at Sófi's remarks while continuing to sightsee the exotic sights old Qirya had to offer the two backpackers. After a few minutes of walking past people who kept looking at them, either in awe, confusion, or in disgust for blocking their paths, the two stopped at a majestic structure.

“The arches here are very exquisite! They remind me of something, what do you think?.” Said Sófi.

“Huh, it looks looks familiar too. These arches... They look like they're from a different part of the world, similar to what we have back home.” Added Júsuf

“Aha! Now I know why. Say, do you feel peckish right now? We could go for some Hydari noodles. I saw a family devour an entire bowl in less than a minute a while ago...”

Just as the two were about to approach a Hydari noodle stall, the Adzan was recited. The pair halted their advance, and stopped to listen.

“Masya Allah! I've never heard such beautiful calls to prayer before! Why don't we check it out first before eating?” Said Júsuf.

Júsuf and Sófi entered the building which apparently was a Mushalla. The two took Wudu at different places, and positioned themselves at the designated areas. An elderly man sitting beside Júsuf grew curious of him.

“Assalamu'alaikum young man, what brings you here?” Asked the old man.

“Wa'alaikumsalam! I am travelling accross Hydar with my wife this week.” Answered Júsuf in broken Farsi, just enough to get his point accross.

“Subhanallah! I hope Hydar is good for you as we have lots of interesting sites to see. My name is Ahmad, what is yours?”

“My name is Júsuf. Nice to meet you, Mr. Ahmad.”

“Yusuf? Masya Allah! My grandchild's name is Yusuf too. I hope he grows up to be tall and handsome like you.”

Júsuf grinned slightly at the old man's remarks even though he missed quite a few words. As the Imam began his prayers, Júsuf followed through, and finally reunited with Sófi outside the Mushalla.

“Now, shall we treat ourselves with that sweet sweet Hydari noodles?.”

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